So, you want to know more about cloth diapers. With the varieties available today, you’re not quite sure which one to choose to suit your baby. Or you may have questions about cloth diapers. To start you on your journey of cloth diapering, read our Mom’s guide below:
The bare necessities (or the basic questions): The world of cloth diapering has changed a lot since the days of the classic cotton square cloth and safety pins we are all familiar with. We also remember the plastic looking rubber pants that are uncomfortable, yellow over time, retain odour and leaks.
Today, the cloth diaper is a mix of natural and modern fabric materials that are soft (comfy), sturdy (machine and dryer friendly), hygienic (do not retain odor or leak) and they are very convenient! (easy to put on, take off and clean)
Polyurethane Laminate fabrics were developed for the medical industry and hold up well in the washer and dryer.
High tech microfleece/suede wicks moisture away from baby's skin and keeps them dry and rash-free. Solids roll off the microfleece easily, eliminating the need for dunking or rinsing. Use of aplix and plastic snaps make diaper changes quick and easy.
Hate pins? Now, we have the Snappi fastener made from a stretchable, non-toxic material that is shaped like an elongated T with grips on each end. These grips embed in the diaper fabric to ensure a snug-fitting diaper with enough natural movement for your baby.
The flat cotton diapers (lampin) are thin and not absorbent and hence, require very frequent diaper changes. Then, welcome to world of microfibre and hemp fabric. We have in stock various inserts to make cloth diapers trim and yet highly absorbent.
Cloth diapers basically fall into 4 categories:
1. Prefolds or flats – Flat cloth diapers are the classic cotton square which is folded to fit baby, and secured with diaper pins or a Snappi. A variation of the flat diaper is the Prefold, which includes extra layering in the center.
Flat and prefold diapers are the least expensive choice in cloth diapers, costing in the area of RM90 per dozen for prefold, or around RM25 for flat cotton gauze diapers. These diapers require waterproof outer covers, so they are a three piece diapering system (diaper, cover, closure for diaper). Read more here.
2. Fitted Diapers - Fitted cloth diapers are next step up in the evolution of the cloth diaper from the simple flat diapers or prefold diapers that were the norm many years ago. Fitted diapers are exactly what they sound like. Instead of the flat and shapeless diapers our parents may have used, fitted diapers are fitted and snug, usually with elastic gatherings in the legs and waist, making them a perfect fit for any baby. They usually have closures of some sort as well, either hook and loop, (Velcro) or snaps.
Fitted diapers are not waterproof so you do need a diaper cover to put over them but they are very easy to put on a baby and very easy to put under a cover without uncomfortable bunching. Some fitted diapers have also been known to contain a pocket for stuffing (see pocket diapers). Fitted diapers come in a variety of materials but some of the most popular choices are cotton knits, flannel, hemp, terry cloth, sherpa, bamboo, or velour. Read more here.
3. Pocket Diapers –They are cloth diapers with a pocket. Most generally have two layers, an outer layer and an inner layer, with a hole or pocket that separate the two at one point, forming an opening for the absorbent material to be inserted. The absorbent material that is inserted into the pocket is what absorbs the moisture when baby relieves himself. It can be removed later for more effective cleaning. Many moms believe that pocket diapers are the most innovative invention in diapering ever. Read more here.
4. All-in-Ones (AIOs) – It is a type of diaper that functions completely on its own without the need for extra accessories. It does not require separate soaker material to absorb or a separate diaper cover to contain leaks. All of the features are neatly packaged into one diaper. Read more here.
Now that you’re a pro on the types of cloth diapers available, your next step will be fun – making the best choice for your baby!
Which cloth diaper system for me? THIS ALL DEPENDS ON YOUR PREFERENCE! Whatever your needs and budget, there is a cloth diapering system to fit you. Here a few suggestions to fit natural cloth diapers into your lifestyle:
• You can pre-stuff a pocket diaper so you’re using it like a disposable except that it is washable.
• Aplix/Velcro is more daddy and grandparents friendly. They are also highly recommended for active, wriggly children who hate wearing any diapers.
• Microsuede fabric will keep baby feeling dry and it’s much easier to wash (since poo does not stick to it, you can use the shower head to rinse it off and then flush it down the toilet bowl). Or, you can place a flushable nappy liner on top of the prefold/lampin with any diaper cover.
• For newborns who poo and pee frequently, I highly recommend using a diaper cover over prefolds/flats (lampin) since it is cheaper, easy to change and quick to dry.
• For active toddlers, pocket diapers are easier as they fit well around the leg area, accommodating their active movements. It is also easier to customize the absorbency of a pocketed diaper especially for heavy wetters.
Which brand for my baby? 1. Diaper covers for flats/prefolds - Bummis, Thirsties and Imse Vimse This is the most economical diapering system available for use with regular flats (lampin) or better yet, unbleached prefold cloth diapers. You can also combine this with either a microfiber insert in a suede insert sock, a flushable diaper or a fleece liner to give your baby a dry feeling!
Bummis - A state-of-the art Aplix-closing cover made from a super resistant, waterproof PUL sandwiched between two layers of soft polyester knit. Especially useful for newborn babies whose bowel movements are still very frequent, Bummis are well designed with a generous cutting. You will only need one diaper cover for every 3-4 nappies/prefolds (we built the gusset in!) as they are suitable with ANY type of flat, pre-formed, Velcro or snap-closing diaper.
Thirsties - Another diaper cover made from PUL with a gusset using Velcro/Aplix closure. Available in solid colors from Newborn to Large sizes (Note: Newborn sizes have a lower rise around the tummy area to make room for baby’s healing umbilical cord.)
Imse Vimse - Made from one layer of super soft, printed, organic cotton with an internal layer of waterproof yet breathable material, this diaper cover uses Velcro/aplix closures as well.
Wonderwrap cover - is the diaper cover that grow with your baby. It can be adjusted from small to large size. Made from PUL and uses Velcro/aplix closure as well.
As long as the cover is not soiled, you can just wipe off the moisture and re-use the diaper cover again. All of these covers are also durable and stands the test of time!
2. Fitted diapers Another new favorite is the fitted diaper. As the name implies, “fitted” means that the diaper is made to fit babies and no pins or fasteners are needed as the diaper comes with snap/Aplix closures. An important point about fitted diapers is that they don’t come with a waterproof outer layer, which means you will need a diaper cover.
Imse vimse: Onesize organic fitted diapers. Materials: Super soft organic cotton. Features: Great for babies with sensitive skins. Aplix/Velcro closure with cross over tab( helps to fit better for skinny babies). Fit: babies from 5kg- 15 kg.
Kissaluvs: Materials: cotton fleece for the outer, comes in natural unbleached or colored. Inner layer is made from beautifully textured fabrics to help contain even the runniest poop. Features: Sturdy plastic snaps provide easy access for parents and not so easy removal for curious toddlers. Uniquely spaced wing snaps that are adjustable according to your baby's build. Overlapping wings on the larger sizes fit even thin babies. Size: 0,1, 2. Size 0 fits newborn babies perfectly, and comes with snaps down so it won’t irritate umbilical cords.
Drybees onesize bamboo fitted. Materials: 100% un-dyed bamboo fleece. Bamboo fabric absorbs 60% more than similar weight cotton fabrics and it is naturally antibacterial meaning it's more hygienic and healthier for your skin! For sensitive and allergy prone skin, bamboo is a wonderful choice since bamboo's natural breath-ability keeps your skin comfortable and feeling dry longer. The fabric even feels cool to the touch. Features: this diaper closure with snaps and it is made from 100% natural fabric. This is the best option if you only want to use natural fabric for your babies. The snaps won’t touch baby’s delicate skin, and each diaper comes with one Drybees bamboo soaker (20% cotton , 80% bamboo). After many washes, it becomes more absorbent – and softer too! Fits: most babies right from birth to potty learning.
3. Pocket diapers - Drybees, Bum Genius, , Happy Heinys and Green Acre Designs The cloth diaper with a pocket - absorbent material is inserted to soak up moisture and can be removed later for more effective cleaning. Pocket diapers come with either waterproof or non-waterproof covers.
Here’s a table showing the important features of each brand to help you choose:
|POCKET DIAPERS |
HAPPY HEINYS: Material waterproof PUL + microfleece, Sizes S,M, L, XL. Features: closure: aplix/Velcro, super soft microfleece liners. Age group fits newborn to toddlers.
GREEN ACRE DESIGNS Material: Waterproof PUL + colored microsuede or microfleece. Size: S, M, Medium Long, Large. Features: using side snaps, make a curious toddler find it more challenging to open the diaper, Inner liners are made from either suede or fleece. Two snaps on each size make it very adjustable. Age group: newborn to toddler. GAD diapers also come in Medium long size especially for those tall but very skinny babies.
DRYBEES comes in Size S, M, L. Babies come in different builds and shapes so Drybees sizes will offer the best fit diaper under clothing. The sizing is generous, where Size small can accommodate babies up till about 7.5 kg. Most babies wear Medium size until the time they are ready for potty training when they upgrade. Sized diapers always offer the best snug fit result.
DRYBEES HYBRIDS ALL IN ONE is a one piece diaper system. You don't need to stuff any insert, as the microfiber insert is already sewn inside the diaper. This diaper is also topped with microsuede lining to give baby a dry bottom feeling. Since the soaker is enclosed within the diaper, these diapers are truly as easy as disposables. But all new Hybrids AIO come with pocket openings, which also make it easier to adjust their absorbency.
BUM GENIUS is a one size diapering system for babies from 8-35 pounds. You might find it rather bulky for a newborn but you can use the little weeds insert for newborns to reduce the bulkiness.
How many do I need?
Getting started using cloth diapers is very easy. The first thing you need to do is to decide how often you want to wash diapers. Most people wash them daily or on every alternate day. The next thing you have to decide is the type of diaper you want to use and what brands you want to use. Because different types and different brands work best for different babies, a good idea would be to buy a few samples of diapers and covers (our “diaper packages”) and try them.
Once you decide which you like best, you can buy more of your favorites. The ones you decide you don't like as much can be sold to other cloth diapering parents (check out our “FORUM, under “Buy and Sell).
I would encourage you to separate the washing of the covers from the inserts. Wash the covers once you are free. The covers dry fast (2 hours to less than a day) compared to the inserts (1 to 2 days). This way, you are able to reuse the covers more often.
*Moms’ Favorite Question*
How much money can I save if I use cloth diapers?
“It seems so expensive to start!” or “I’d rather choose disposables!” you may think. While the investment in the beginning seems high, there is a high cost saving when a kid is still in diapers during the 2-3+ year old period.
On average, a baby will use 6-12 diapers a day, depending on the baby's age and body weight. In a year, that’s 2,190- 4,380 pieces of diapers. That means about 6,000-10,000 diapers over the course of the 2.5-3 years in the kid is in diapers!
If the average cost of disposable diapers is RM0.50/piece, that amounts to RM1,100-RM2,000/year! For the 3 years your child is in diapers, you’ll need to multiply that by 3 = almost RM6,000 on disposable diapers alone.
That’s only the cost for one child.
And it hasn’t included the cost of diaper cream, which must be used with disposables or the wipes you use for every soiled nappy change.
Or the additional diapers baby needs on the days they don’t feel well.
With cloth diapers, the initial investment will be about RM600-800 for part-time use or a maximum of RM2,500 for full-time use. And you can use the same set again and again for your second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth child right up to that football team size family you’re planning for!
As you can see, the savings is substantial. Can’t believe your eyes? Do the math yourself with our online tool found here!
Remember also the added benefits of your baby wearing natural, breathable, clean fabrics next to his/her skin and the reduced rubbish in our beautiful environment that come with cloth diapers.
Will it cost more if I use SIZED cloth diapers compared to ONE-SIZE ones? Well, that’s not really true. First of all, the diapers that come in sizes will fit better as they are customized to fit your baby’s body. Remember: BETTER FIT = LESS MESS!!!
You won’t need to buy a lot of all sizes. You will need around 8-10 pcs Small sizes, 6-8 pcs Medium size, and you may (or not) need 4-6 pcs Large size. In total, that would be about 18-24 pcs (That would be around RM1,700-1,800! For the whole 3 years!)
One-size diapers will be a better option if you have more than one child still in diapers or for multiple babies (twins, triplets or more!).
What’s the difference between Pocket diapers and the normal lampin (flat)? Pocket diapers are formed like a disposable with the opening where you can stuff absorbent material (the inserts).The outer layer is 100% breathable PUL material and the lining part, which touches your baby's skin is microsuede/microfleece, which has wicking ability to attract moisture through the insert. The microsuede/microfleece itself will stay dry and so will your baby!
The normal lampin must first be folded into layers, then fastened with a nappy pin and covered with waterproof pants. Normal lampin will hold pee about 1-2 times of its weight. Inserts for pocket diapers can last for about 3-4 hours.
Will it be hot for the baby? No. The PUL used is usually 1mil or 2mil BREATHABLE material. The fleece used is ultra-soft and although it feels thick, it is not warm for the child.
Can I use the lampin to stuff my pocket diaper? Yes, you can. Note though that it will be bulky and won’t hold up to 3 hours like the microfiber inserts.
Does the microsuede/fleece lining really give baby a dry feeling? Yes. Microsuede and fleece has wicking abilities. This means that it can wick the moisture through the insert but the suede/fleece itself will be dry.
Also, microsuede is more pilling and stain resistant than microfleece – solid waste rolls off easily which means easy cleaning for you (or for grandma, the babysitter or the maid).
Can I put extra inserts in the pocket diaper for higher absorbency? Yes, you can. That's the beauty of the pocket diaper. You can customize the number of inserts according to your needs and baby’s comfort level.
Can I use pocket diapers for night use? Of course you can. For better protection, I would strongly recommend Drybees fleece pocket diapers at night. The outer part is made from windpro fleece fabric. This is a breathable fabric, which is thicker yet comfortable. It is not recommended for day time use in hot weather. For night time diapering, hemp inserts will work better and they are trimmer compared to microfiber inserts. Another option is to use fitted diapers with a diaper cover.
Can the inserts be washed? How long can each last before it needs to be replaced? Yes. Both the diaper outer and the insert are washable! With proper care, it can last long and you can use it for more than one child. Please see the section for tips on “how to wash your cloth diapers”.
Do I need to soak the diaper a few hours before washing? No, you don't have to. You can scrub it a bit with water and then leave it in the pail for washing when you are ready. It doesn't need to be washed immediately.